Ronald Reagan was president. People were fighting to save whales. The first CD player came out.
"Come on, Eileen" was all over the radio while "Rocky III" beat up the box office.
Time Magazine named "the computer" man of the year.
It was 1982, and here in Baltimore that summer, a festival called Artscape debuted.
This year the event, now a city tradition, is paying an irreverent tribute to its roots by sending a bit of the festival back in time. Throughout the three-day festival, the stretch along Charles Street near Pennsylvania Station will be known as "1982 on the Charles Street Bridge."
Artists stationed there will present works inspired by the 1980s — the culture, the music, the fashion. Everything's fair game — from Cabbage Patch dolls to Atari to hair scrunchies.
"I love the 1980s," says Jim Lucio, Artscape's visual arts coordinator. "There was so much going on visually and with music, I thought it would be a great idea."
With the 1982 space, Lucio hopes to present the era to festival-goers, a version of it reinterpreted by today's artists.
The dozens of participating artists had nearly complete freedom to focus on anything from the decade — whatever inspired them.
For another, it was the Commodore 64 computer.
For Michael Farley and the rest of his collective called DAZZLESTORM!, it was the sci-fi movie "Bladerunner."
He found inspiration in the bleak way the movie depicted the Los Angeles of the future. It reminded him of Baltimore. His installation, called "Baltimore 2019," will feature gritty footage he shot over months on the city streets to be shown with a score inspired by the composer Vangelis, a painted "Bladerunner"-style booth facade and costumed characters out front interacting with festival-goers.
"'Bladerunner' and Baltimore can be really depressing. But I also find them really beautiful and fascinating," says Farley, now 23, who wasn't even born when the movie debuted. "It was a really pivotal time for cinema and culture at large."
Christopher Attenborough, working with the Roving Project and the collective Peacock, will be reproducing knockoffs of iconic 1980s artworks out of a Winnebago from that era. The idea came to him when a friend wanted to attend a fair mainly to find a stand selling fake Coach bags.
"We didn't want to create something just 1982," he says. "We asked: 'What if we want to Artscape and someone was selling knockoff artwork?'"
In addition to the installations, the 1982 bridge will feature an exhibit of vintage concert fliers and a stage where people can hear punk and New Wave bands, see an original ballet inspired by punk musician Nina Hagen and perform 1980s songs with a karaoke machine.
"There are a lot of things that I hope will jog people's memory," Lucio says. "I'm hoping it will take on a life of its own and be just a party zone."
Let's do the time warp
Forget what was happening in 1982? Here are some of the year's most popular hits in music, movies and TV.
"Physical" by Olivia Newton-John
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
"I Love Rock 'N Roll" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
"Centerfold" by The J. Geils Band
"E.T. the Extra-terrestrial"
"An Officer and a Gentleman"